Must Love Dogs: Literature Review and Manual for Animal Assisted Therapy in Speech-Language Pathology (Dementia)

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  • Introduction: Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Individuals with dementia often end up in long term care facilities with behavioural and psychological symptoms and communication disorders. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is being explored as a means to address these dementia-associated problems. AAT may be used for adults with dementia to reduce the impact of negative symptoms and increase social interaction and communication with other residents and staff in the long-term care facility.

    Objectives: This project was designed to (1) determine the usefulness of AAT in the rehabilitation of adults with dementia, (2) learn about the resources and supports available in the community, and (3) provide clinicians with a detailed plan outlining the steps involved in implementing an AAT program for adults with dementia.
    Methods: This project investigators investigated conducted a literature review of AAT and dementia, conducted an observation of AAT and constructed a manual based on the findings.
    Impact: The creation of an evidence-based practice document on AAT and dementia represents a novel contribution to speech-language pathology clinical practice and will form the foundation for future research on this topic.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International